How to jumpstart visual branding for your business

How to jumpstart visual branding for your business
Mydee Lasquite

Written by:
Mydee Lasquite

Jul 10, 2015

Visual Branding

Also known as Visual Brand Identity  refers to the overall strategy to label and set apart a brand from others or companies operating in the same industry.

A brand’s identity  is the visual expression of a brand that is communicated to the outside world.  It often includes its name, logo type or mark, communications and visual appearance

A brand identity in general creates an emotional connection and reflects the brand positioning and desired image.

The very purpose of branding is to establish credibility, build trust, maintain consistency allow one (a product, person or company) to achieve familiarity. You don't want to face any rebranding fails when building a visual brand.

Devising new methods to appeal to customer emotions is the single most effective way to market product or service - It is the ability of answering deep needs instead of offering mere wants - It is being able to communicate at the deepest level of the customer’s inner most desire that you should pursue and not merely comply to what is a superficial want.

Establishing a strong and recognizable brand identity and guidelines to ensure proper use is an essential first step to any successful communications program.

When it's done correctly a brand can set the standard for all future materials created and allow for a more consistent and coordinated communication effort.


Brand Origins

Branding originated from the Old norse word “brandr” which means “to burn” - as reference to the branding practice in old times, back when producers used a metal shaped logo, cattle, slaves, timber and crockery were burnt with the use  iron rods for identification by its owners.


Cow says: Ouch! that hurts.

Branding was used to define ownership, a common practice which has been around since 2000 BC.  In the 1800's,  the Pitchmen - essentially what they called salesmen and advertisers  (whom the English monarchy would grant patents), were allowed to sell what they called medicines to and in America.

A very popular “medicine” sold way back was a powerful cure for headaches and fatigue, the main ingredient of this powerful drug was cocaine - not to mention what it is for. Today, this medicine is still being sold minus its cocaine content because of its hazardous content. It's called: Coca Cola.

Coca Cola was  the magical drug in the olden days, for headache and exhaustion. Another well-pitched medicine,Pepsin, notably as a cure for stomach pains, became ever so popular. This medicine was later on used to name the primary competitor for Coca Cola, Pepsi.


The powerful branding and marketing campaign in the 1800’s made it possible for Pepsi and Coca Cola to withstand branding and marketing evolution.  Fast forward nearly a century later, both brands are marketed as fun-loving family products, despite their origins.



In earlier times, for a product to get noticed, all producers needed to do was to produce the best product they could create and expect that more people would learn to patronize.  But the 1900's changed the rules of the game.

The introduction of new technology and methods of exchange and communication dramatically paved the way for smart buyers. The construction of railroads ,the improvement of postal service opened new doors for buyers as “wish books” or product catalogues knocked on households and shipped to mailboxes. Thus, the western world shifted from a culture of need, to a culture of desire.

In the 1940’s as market expanded and business growth was threatened, marketers sought the need to make products stand out among their competitors.  As a result, branding was then coined as the unique selling proposition (USP), pioneered by Rosser Reeves who believed that an advertisement or commercial should show off the value or the unique selling proposition of the product -  an idea that resembled the role of pitchmen.

The USP reverberated across advertising agencies, it was an essential strategy that was devised to stay on top of the competition. Today, this strategy is working to the advantage of leading brands such Starbucks.   Here's an article that shows how the world's top brands are using branding (in a visual format)

The 1950’s made use of characters to sell particular brands. One that stood out was Clarence Hailey Long who became the prominent figure in Philip Morris International - The Marlboro Man campaign, that pumped up its cigarette sales.

The 1960’s opened a new method of naming brands. Traditionally, product brands were named after family names of founder or by place of origin. It was not until the early 60’s that product names played with words.

In America  if people wanted premium dairy products, they would locate Danish products or owned stores, believing the they produce the best dairy products in the market. Reuben and Rose  Mattus capitalized on this perception. These 2 are the founders of the ever popular ice cream brand Haagen-Dazs.

The MadMen Era prompted companies to associate their brands with counter culture. It was coined a madman’s move because what possible reason could large corporation have to justify associating their brands with counter culture scenes that tend to undermine their business growth. Nothing short of miracle but, Adidas effectively worked on this marketing strategy.


The Madmen Era built a distrust on brands. Consumers were overwhelmed by counter culture ads that they wanted to unearth the truth about the egotistical advertisements and wanted to establish fairness and equality in visual advertising promotions.

McDonalds, was categorized as unhealthy and damaging food choice. This prompted the company to redesign their visual brand by adhering to more tones of green and yellow in their advertising to be listed among healthy food options.


Nike is still among the top brands controversially involved with “sweat shops”, alongside other garment brands that are still denying involvement or in contracting factories from Asia.

Branding Today

Most brands today have settled or re-branded. Companies take time to maintain brand visibility; they use Ad campaigns created in short intervals to ensure that product brands and services remain on top of competition- a sort of an evolving branding organism tending to the desires of it's audience.

The fast changing world of the internet has brought upon advertisers to work relentless to improve product branding. Today, businesses and companies spend enormous amount of money to define their brand identity.

Brand Identity refers to the overall presentation a company or a particular business would like itself to be known or recognized for. Brand identity tells the difference between products, service or businesses in general.

Brand Identity helps in the definition of company goals and objectives on how they can best leverage their brand in order to realize their corporate vision, uphold and implement corporate values and last but not the least, how they can put into play their corporate mission.

Today, the most prominent form of establishing brand identity is thru visual branding.

Visual branding  relates to the product presentation and marketing visuals utilized to set a business distinct and apart from other product or service brand.

Example of Great Brands and links to their brand history:







Coca Cola




Mc Donalds




Brand Environmentalism

Brand environmentalism means accepting the responsibility to protect your brand and present it in the best possible light whenever and wherever it may be found. -Scott Bedbury,  A  New Brand World : 8 Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century.

In summary, companies or businesses are required due diligence in seeing to it that their products are recognized in the best possible way. Gone are the days when all businesses needed to do is manufacture high quality products and expect a good return in their investment. Today, extensive marketing and advertising campaigns are necessary for a brand to thrive and connect with its consumer.

It is not enough that a product is high quality or a service is excellent to survive in this modern day of thriving and innovative businesses. The painstaking truth is that, brands need to work harder and smarter to continue delivering brand promise to its consumer by supplementing value added services they can effectively communicate online,using visual content.

The advent of online marketing allowed brands to double their reach and spread their brand message via social media platforms. Search engine marketing offers a digital virality to business that registers or contracts hosts to build websites to offer product or service.

Visual Brand Language

Visual Brand Language is a unique “alphabet of design” elements - such as shape, color, materials, finish, typography and composition - Which directly and subliminally communicate a company’s values and personality through compelling imagery and design style - Wikipedia


Core Values. At  the base of visual branding is the very foundation of a company, product or service. This refers to the core values or the very heart of a company’s brand - It showcases business operations and how it offers itself to the market.

Brand Positioning. The second block of the focuses on the Visual tone of the brand in context of other brands.  This alone sets apart a product from one another - the best example would be - Apple and Windows - the former opted for a bitten Apple while Microsoft chose multiple colors but later changed to blue and white.

Design Principles. This refer to specific visual concepts which guide expression of brand.

Signature Elements. Are you familiar with Brandisty? It is a website wholly dedicated to identifying or keeping a database of all brand elements, such as colors, fonts and styling. It provides information what fonts are used by specific companies at the same time offering alternatives when the primary options are not available. The purpose of Brandisty is to make known to the world who uses what color in their brands and what font type completes their logo. This is basically the articulation of design principles through form, texture, badging, surface, and interaction details.


Kitchen Aid - For the Way its made


Brand DNA - For the way it’s made


Brand Positioning:
Professional grade products for cooking enthusiasts; combining warmth of home with commercial - grade engineering and robustness :”warm commercial”

Design Principles:
Exaggerated scale, softened surfaces, large user interfaces.

Signature Elements :
Analog gauges, distinct controls. chrome accents.

What sets apart great brands ?

It is the ability of these brands to find relevant ways to  tap the emotional drivers that already reside deep  within each of us - Scott Bedbury.

A brand must be able to offer genuine concern to improve consumers way of life.

  • It must be capable of offering value to the customer, something that the consumer can greatly benefit from in the long run.
  • It must be unique, a brand that is capable of standing out from its competitors.
  • Must offer something what other product/brands or service do not particularly offer; a particular feature that will make it defensible or worth considering.

Combine all these brand characteristics and put them to address the deepest desires and needs of the consumer and you will emotionally connect with your audience/consumer base.

A great brand’s value proposition extends beyond its products.

The best brands change our perceptions of the world.

Example - RED BULL challenges people’s concept of what is humanly possible. This brand inspires US to explore our limits and achieve something more -


TIP - Don’t define your brand by what you make, but by what you can make happen.

Great brands aren’t just differentiated; they make a difference

Marketers love brands with a conscience.

Brands should offer something to buy into, not just something to buy.

Example - Go Pro’s “Your Life, The Ultimate Experience” Campaign


TIP: Bring your brand’s value to life by bringing your brand’s values to life.

Great Brands don’t interrupt the people; they involve them

Marketing that actively involves audience is more engaging.

Example - Much of NIKE’s success stems from its inclusive marketing approach.

TIP: Actively involve your audiences in co-creating a democratic brand.

Great Brands engage our emotions.

Activities that resonate  with audiences’ experiences drive greater engagement.

Example - P&G’s “Thank You Mom” films create a strong emotional response. Appealing to emotions delivers more profound and enduring connections.

TIP: Aim for heart-strings, not eyeballs.

Great Brands help people to help themselves.

Use marketing to help people achieve their goals as well as brand goals.

Example - AMEX’s open forum engages people through advice, not adverts.

TIP: Deliver value in every interaction, not just through every transaction.

Visual Storytelling

Visual storytelling is the ultimate key to successful brand marketing and visual branding. Visual content and images have potentials way beyond ordinary text. Combine fresh information with relative graphics, infused with creativity and consistency  is an effective method to capture attention and keep customer interested. Visually appealing elements  are healthy choices for brand reputation building.

Create Brand Experience

How to create overwhelming brand experience?

Customer brand experience is the cumulative impact of multiple level touchpoints, which ultimately results in the presence or absence of business to consumer or business to business connection.

First identify the touch points. Customer touch points refer to points of contact between your brand and your customer.


Identifying customer touch points will help your brand narrow down the place to best promote your visual assets. Today, traditional and online advertising, offers 2 distinct manner of promoting your brand.

Visual Branding is elemental in the above types of advertising.  What comes down to challenge advertisers is how to offer the experience to consumers.

What stands out is that all marketing and advertising attempts will fail if the deepest need is sacrificed to address the superficial want. Visual communication is effective when the thirst is quenched by what matters.

In one line - use Visual Branding to determine what need or emotion to address? and it’s not only about depicting the need, but also satisfying the same.


Disney is effective because it addresses imagination. All well- imagined stories are captured in movies, and captivating shows.


Starbucks: This particular brand promotes their coffee  to offer a boost of  energy in every cup.


Nike: This brand’s promise is all about freeing your spirit, your body every time you move. It offers comfort and mobility.


Apple: The brand promise is “You can own the coolest, easiest-to-use cutting-edge computers and electronics. This promise addresses the need to be productive, mobile and convenient.


The Basics of Visual Branding

Be consistent with your color palette.

You’d notice from any well known brand that they use the same colors over and over again. The logo and the visual assets they produce necessarily contain their brand colors. The reason, consistency in colors makes it easier for consumer to become familiar with any given brands.

Look at how Cadbury uses its purple color brand in all its social media visual content.


Branding requires that you understand the what each individual colors promote. Example, the color blue is widely used for Technology and it symbolizes trust.

Social Media platforms Facebook and Twitter


Computer software and hardware - DELL and HP


The colors you choose should reflect your brand. Youthful brands should use bright colors as they represent vibrance and freshness. For brand who want to be known as welcoming and gentle, pastel colors are the safest way to go.


Use font pairs that reflect brand personality. Again, consistency is a must if you are establishing your brand.  The fonts your brand use should complement the personality you want your brand to be recognized. Does your brand promote strength? Simplicity ? or Elegance ?

Consider choosing 3 font types.  Your heading should be different from your subtitle and content font.

Here’s an infographic on what fonts look good together.

Use only appropriate images and filters. Choose images that offers a consistent theme. Visme offers an image library you can use in creating your visual content. When taking your own photos, keep in mind to stay consistent with the brand theme.

Using filters work wonders on visual content shared on social media. Corona for example, improves the look of its images by adding a sun- kissed summer ambience in every visual content.


Looking for better ways to improve your visual marketing content, check this blog post.

Use social media templates to speed up design process. In a previous post we have discussed recommended image sizes for every social media platform. Although there are platforms that offer social media templates, Visme offers a custom template your brand can use in creating visual content for social media distribution.

If you intend to widely promote your brand on social media, it’s best to customize a template for every visual post that you will share. Let’s say you will be sharing a weekly advice, label your template accordingly -

Ready to start your visual branding experience ?

The competitive world of content marketing requires that you create your distinct visual brand. Consumers make split- second decision  based on your visual content.

Establish your visual brand and incorporate it in your visual content assets.  Never take what your consumers need.  Paint the solution to their problems and offer the solution at a glance.   That’s the way to conquer visual content marketing.

Create Stunning Content!

Design visual brand experiences for your business whether you are a seasoned designer or a total novice.

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    About the Author

    Mydee is a content strategist at Visme’s Visual Learning Center. After years of writing for various companies to promote brands and products, her passion for content and love for offering valuable information landed her at Visme to help individuals and businesses make informed decisions and improve their communication and presentation skills.

    2 responses to “How to jumpstart visual branding for your business”

    1. Flo says:

      Thank you for putting this all together, really great article.

    2. […] our visual branding post, we discussed how you should remain consistent in using your company logo and other equally […]

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